2018 Colloquium, Wednesdays

The Fall 2018 Colloquium will take place every Wednesday from 4:30 to 5:30 at CMSA, 20 Garden Street, G10. This year’s colloquium will be organized by Jörn BoehnkeSergiy Verstyuk and Aghil Khangha.

The schedule below will be updated as speakers are confirmed.

Date Speaker Title/Abstract
9/26/2018 Xiao-Gang Wen, MIT Title: A classification of low dimensional topological orders and fully extended TQFTs

Abstract: In this talk, I will review the recent progress on classification of gapped phases of quantum matter (ie topological orders) in 1,2, and 3 spatial dimensions for boson systems. In 1-dimension, there is no non-trivial topological orders. In 2-dimensions, the topological orders are classified by modular tensor category theory. In 3-dimensions, the topological orders are classified by a simple class of braided fusion 2-categories. The classification of topological orders may correspond to a classification of fully extended unitary TQFTs.

10/03/2018 Richard Schoen, Stanford Title: Perspectives on the scalar curvature

Abstract: This will be a general talk concerning the role that the scalar curvature plays
in Riemannian geometry and general relativity. We will describe recent work on
extending the known results to all dimensions, and other issues which are being actively



Justin Solomon, MIT Title: Correspondence and Optimal Transport for Geometric Data Processing

Abstract: Correspondence problems involving matching of two or more geometric domains find application across disciplines, from machine learning to computer vision. A basic theoretical framework involving correspondence along geometric domains is optimal transport (OT). Dating back to early economic applications, the OT problem has received renewed interest thanks to its applicability to problems in machine learning, computer graphics, geometry, and other disciplines. The main barrier to wide adoption of OT as a modeling tool is the expense of optimization in OT problems. In this talk, I will summarize efforts in my group to make large-scale transport tractable over a variety of domains and in a variety of application scenarios, helping transition OT from theory to practice. In addition, I will show how OT can be used as a unit in algorithms for solving a variety of problems involving the processing of geometrically-structured data.

10/17/2018 Jeremy England, MIT Title: Wisdom of the Jumble

Abstract: There are certain, specific behaviors that are particularly distinctive of life. For example, living things self-replicate, harvest energy from challenging environmental sources, and translate experiences of past and present into actions that accurately anticipate the predictable parts of their future. What all of these activities have in common from a physics standpoint is that they generally take place under conditions where the pronounced flow of heat sharpens the arrow of time. We have therefore sought to use thermodynamics to understand the emergence and persistence of life-like phenomena in a wide range of messy systems made of many interacting components.
In this talk I will discuss some of the recent insights we have gleaned from studying emergent fine-tuning in disordered collections of matter exposed to complexly patterned environments. I will also point towards future possible applications in the design of new, more life-like ways of computing that have the potential to either be cheaper or more powerful than existing means.

11/28/2018 Robert Haslofer, University of Toronto
12/5/2018 Robert McCann, University of Toronto
12/12/2018 Zhiwei Yun, MIT


For information on previous CMSA colloquia, click here.

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